STANDARD C: MANAGING CLASSROOM CLIMATE AND OPERATION
Managing classroom climate is one of the most important aspects of being a teacher. It is essential that the classroom environment is conducive to learning (Indicator 1). Establishing clear and high expectations at the beginning of the year will create a positive and safe setting for students. Evidence 1 shows a picture of the classroom rules that were posted at the beginning of the year. Students contributed by creating a list of rules. After, they voted on the five most important. I created this visual (Evidence 1) and posted it for the students as a reminder of what is expected. When issues arise, I refer to these rules. I believe it is important to include the students during this process and discuss why these rules are important. The students’ involvement creates a willingness to abide and a more personal understanding of why these boundaries are set. Including students in the rule-making process evokes a sense of pride for their classroom and classmates. This proved to be successful practice as students worked together to follow rules during the school hours. These high expectations allowed for a more conducive environment (Indicator 1).
The first classroom rule is “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This rule, created by the students, clearly promotes mutual respect for each other. When rules are not followed and boundaries are crossed, students are held accountable for their actions. Evidence 5 displays three steps that students were taught in September to help solve their problems. This process is more commonly used when rule one and three (“keep your body in its own space”) are broken. The three-step process includes: tell what happened, tell how it made you feel, and tell what you want. It is frequently modeled for students by teacher and peers at the front of the classroom. It teaches students necessary problem solving skills. This has proven to be successful as I have observed students in the classroom and on the playground solve their issues respectfully, appropriately and independently. These steps are effective for maintaining appropriate standards of behavior, mutual respect, and safety (Indicator 3).
Along with a maintaining respect and safety, the classroom needs to be organized. Evidence 2, 3 and 4 indicate an environment appropriate to a range of learning activities (Indicator 2). Evidence 2 presents age-appropriate materials, such as crayons, markers, scissors, glue sticks, highlighters, etc. They are kept at an easily accessible level for a second grader. Students know exactly where to get the things they need for any activity. The organization of these materials allows for a more productive learning experience. Evidence 4 displays a quiet space in the classroom that students may work. It is cornered off, leaving less chance for distraction. I feel strongly that students should be offered a quiet space to think or work independently. This space has proven to be a success, as students will often ask if they may work at the “writing station.” All books available to the students are leveled by color (Evidence 3). Students are assigned a bookmark with their reading level color. The organization of these books is tremendously beneficial. Not only can students find a book quickly, they are choosing books according to reading level.
Along with Evidence 2, 3, and 4, Evidence 6 helps to manage classroom routine and procedure without loss of significant instructional time (Indicator 4). Evidence 6 displays the “Yellow Brick Road” chart that students must follow every morning. The cards placed in the chart help students prepare for the day’s activities. For example, students are reminded to sharpen pencils and replace old coloring materials so they are ready for use. These morning tasks greatly increase instructional time. Students are expected to complete tasks in the morning and are not allowed to do these things during instruction.
As mentioned in my Philosophy of Teaching and Learning statement, creating a consistent environment conducive to learning is personal objective. High expectations and an organized classroom create structure and enhance learning. I strongly feel that Evidence 1-6 prove my best practice of managing classroom climate and operation.